Scott Hall: Zeitgeist of the ’90s

There are few moments that define an era and the one that defines the 1990’s for me is when Scott Hall walked onto my television screen, unannounced, in WCW and said, “You know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here.” It is a moment I will never forget and that is hard to explain.

It was a moment that defined an era. It was a moment that launched a revolution. And it was a moment that embodied everything that was the 1990s. It was the ultimate act of rebellion. A thumb in the eye of his former employer and one of the most shocking moments of television the world has ever seen.

If you aren’t a pro wrestling fan you likely have no idea what the big deal is about a professional wrestlers debut with a rival company. The thing about it was the gate had been opened but the curtain was still down. The internet age had just begun and while more information than ever was available it was nowhere close to what it is today. There were bits and pieces of information out there, and one of the big pieces that came first was the dissolution of kayfabe or the belief that pro wrestling is real. All of a sudden the fans were in on the act.

That is why Scott Hall’s unannounced and unexpected debut was a surprise. In today’s world his new contract would have leaked months before his debut and there would have been no change to be surprised. Especially given things like no compete clauses and all that. No one knew that Scott Hall had left the WWF and headed to WCW. So, when he walked into that ring and grabbed that microphone people had no idea if what they were watching was an act or real.

It was a moment that changed everything. All of a sudden wrestling became the must watch program of cable television and Scott Hall was one of its biggest stars. People had to tune in each week to see what was going to happen next. The attitude, the edge, the mystery was all so 90’s.

This evening we received the sad news that Scott Hall passed away. If you had followed his story at all you know it is extra sad because he overcame so much to be where he was, and his life ended due to complications from a routine surgery. Anyone who grew up a fan of professional wrestling in the 1990s is saddened by this passing. I don’t think I’ve ever met a professional wrestling fan that didn’t love Scott Hall in one of his iterations.

Scott Hall will always be remembered as the man that shocked and altered the industry. That moment of him walking through the crowd, into the ring, and grabbing the microphone on a show no one thought he was supposed to be at will forever be one of the most iconic moments in professional wrestling history and the epitome of the 1990s.

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